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Keywords:

  • dental education;
  • gender;
  • self-assessment

Abstract

Introduction

Newly licensed dentists are a promising group to evaluate the compatibility of dental education with working life. The aim of this study was to evaluate gender differences amongst young dentists in their self-assessed competence and perceived compatibility of their undergraduate education with working life.

Materials and methods

This study was a part of a national survey of young dentists. Altogether, 90 young dentists (46%) answered the questionnaire; 72 women (80%) and 18 men (20%). For this study, two questions from the questionnaire were analysed.

Results

Undergraduate dental education has met the needs of dental practice in almost every field of dentistry. Females wished for more education in paediatric dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery and oral medicine, whilst males wished for more in preventive dentistry and cariology. The results also implicated that female dentists felt that they would have benefitted from more time spent learning clinical skills. When asked about confidence in doing certain dental procedures, male dentists were more confident in most of the procedures, the most significant differences being in surgical procedures and competence to make a 3–4-unit fixed partial denture. The only area where male dentists were more often unsure was in diagnosis of malocclusions in developing dentition.

Conclusions

The gender differences in young dentists' confidence—which favoured male dentists—require further inquiries. More attention should be paid in dental education to constructively support students with differences in learning clinical skills.